Let Your No Shape Your Yes.

Posted by Emily Cummins.

yT7pkkqTn I read a statement once that I haven’t been able to forget: “Some of the most life-shaping decisions you make in this season will be about walking away from good-enough, in search of can’t-live-without.” That simple truth got me thinking that perhaps what we say no to is just as important as what we say yes to…and sometimes, our no might be even more important that our yes.

Good is fine and all, but I don’t want to settle for just good. I want to live out everything God has planned for me to the best of my ability. I want to graduate from good to great. I want to grow, dive deeper, push through leadership lids, and become. I don’t want a life that’s stagnant and stale; I don’t want to live trapped in a sea of bland. I want a life of color, adventure, and risk. I want to put my head on my pillow each night knowing that if God doesn’t show up in the dreams He’s put in my heart, it’s game over for me. I want to be dependent, but only on Jesus. I want to pursue my passions relentlessly. I want to challenge myself, push myself to the limit, and discover just how far I can go.

But in order to really fulfill the call God has on my life, I’m going to have to start saying no.

No to hasty decisions.
No to pleasing people rather than pleasing God.
No to unhealthy relationships.
No to perfectionism.
No to unintentional living.
No to settling for average.
No to thinking I know it all.
No to living stuck in past shame.
No to unwise thoughts.
No to good-enough.

The foundation I build with my no’s will lead to a stronger yesYes to what God has created me for. Yes to who He has called me to be. Yes to the life I want to lead. Yes to the girl I want to become.

Without saying no, I can’t set myself up to say yes.

What will you say no to today in order to say a resounding YES?

It Takes a Fight.

image In one of my recent counseling sessions, I had this realization that made the session worth it.  We were talking about fighting versus fleeing. We went in a time capsule through my life of when I fought and when I fled. Fleeing was easy in the moment, hard in the long run. Fighting was hard in the moment, easier in the long run.  When I looked at the totality of the times I had fought (for marriage, mental health, ministry dreams) I started to get emotional. But the tears forming on my eyelids were 100% joy.

 

I don’t want to say I’m proud of the times I have fought, because truthfully, pride isn’t what I did it for.  But I am thankful. I am thankful I fought. I am thankful that when the enemy shouted, “Give up,” “Why waste your time?” and “They’ll understand if you quit,” that God helped me hear HIM even louder.

 

God PROMISES that joy WILL come in the morning. God promises that we WALK through the valley of the shadow of death, but we do not live there. God promises that trials produce CHARACTER. God promises that his JOY is our strength. God promises that we are MORE than conquerors! And that one really motivates me! I can’t imagine what is “more” than a conqueror? A hero? Because if more than a conqueror means I’m a hero of my faith, then my boys, DJ and Andy, aren’t just being raised by a mom, they’re being raised by a hero with a badge that says: more than a conquering mom. I don’t know where you are, but before you flee, just try one thing: get on your knees, and ask God, “Should I fight?”

 

Baby Steps.

Posted by Cindy Beall

davidgoliath Goliath wasn’t killed when a smooth stone dug into his forehead.

Scripture says in 1 Samuel 17:51 that David, the soon-to-be king of Israel but currently employed shepherd of stinky sheep, ran over to Goliath, stole his sword and cut off his head, right after knocking the 9-foot giant to the ground with said stone. The stone was merely the climax leading to the end which was finalized by a sword. But it began with “little” stuff way before his brave day of battle on behalf of his people.

Baby steps.

That’s what it takes to succeed. Few people conquer great feats in one fell swoop. It takes being faithful in the little in order to see the big come to pass. And for David, it started with shepherding those dumb sheep that he protected day in and day out. He fought off bears and lions to keep them safe for that was his job. And while that may seem far from a glorious (or clean) role, he did it and it subsequently prepared him to face a giant. The courage he exhibited daily as a shepherd boy was preparing him for the biggest fight of his life. All the while, the entire Israelite army was sitting on the sidelines while a giant named Goliath came out and taunted them twice a day for 40 days.

This is life. Whether we are finishing college or raising children or changing roles or experiencing pain beyond comprehension, we have to press in every single day.

Every. Single. Solitary. Day.

Even when it seems monotonous and grueling, things are progressing. They are. Just because we take a few steps backward on certain days does not mean we haven’t made progress. It may feel like we are collecting small stones—and we very well may be. But one day some small stone will be the very object that God uses to help us kill a giant.

Women of God, do not grow weary in doing good, for in the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Don’t give up on what God has called you to do.

Just don’t.

What baby steps will you take today?

The One.

Posted by Liz Sarno

The One There comes a time in the life of almost every person in ministry when we look around and wonder if what we are doing is making a difference; if it really matters; if there is even a point.

It sounds good to say things like “We don’t care about the numbers,” “It doesn’t matter that there are less people in service this week than last week as long as we have healthy people we don’t care,” “I know my travel schedule is light, but Praise God, it’s going to be a great season to refresh and recharge,” “I don’t really care who reads my blog, I just write it for myself,” or any number of other things we may tell ourselves and others. These all sound good, but can we be honest and say that we really don’t believe what we are saying?

The truth is, seeing less people in church can be discouraging for a pastor and ministry team. Having a lack of speaking engagements can be deflating for an itinerant minister. Having two ladies show up for the women’s Bible Study when we expected 50 can take the wind out of our sails. Checking the stats and seeing that only 4 people read our latest blog offering can be somewhat depressing.

We’ve planned, prepared, and put our heart and soul into our ministry and when we don’t see our expected results it is easy to get disheartened, even if just for a moment. It doesn’t help that on social media platforms worldwide, everyone else is talking about the amazing growth they are experiencing in their churches, the amount of ministry opportunities they are receiving, the doors that are opening, etc….when it seems that we ourselves are not impacting anyone. This can leave us feeling flat, wondering why we do what we do.

Maybe instead of thinking about what we are NOT, what we don’t have, or what we wished we had, we need to shift our perspective and start thinking about the ONE.

(No, not that ONE though He is pretty important too!) The ONE who’s life was changed without us even knowing it. The ONE who slipped into our church a year ago a broken mess, who is thriving today. The ONE single mom who was hopeless until we showed her Jesus. The ONE sick guy who was supposed to die, but is still alive today. How about the ONE cashier in the grocery store, who was overworked, overtired and overwhelmed until we smiled and asked how her day was? Or the ONE who did read our blog and it changed their outlook about their situation.

This is why we do what we do. Everywhere we go there are ONEs walking around who have had their lives transformed because of us, and even more importantly, ONEs waiting to be reached. Jesus Himself told the story of a Shepherd who left his flock to go after the ONE. In fact in Jesus’ parable He said the Shepherd made more of a fuss over that ONE than the other 99 who stayed put. So let’s look for the ONEs all around us and celebrate them today!

Who is your ONE?  I’d love to hear all about it!

A Welcome vs. An Invite

Posted by Brandi Wilson

Summer kicked off for our family with a trip in June to British Columbia to visit Bob and Maria Goff. Bob and Maria invite a group up each year to enjoy their little piece of paradise, this year our family was honored to get to join them in a little reunion of sorts of past Lodge guests as well as some new friends (like us).

Going into this experience I had no idea what to expect. I was looking forward to some time with Team Wilson as well as getting to see a new part of the country… and to be quite honest my expectations ended there. The trip is super unique as the location is so remote, getting to the final destination required a couple of flights to Vancouver then a shuttle, a ferry, another shuttle, a second ferry and a partridge in a pear tree. After a full travel day we finally arrived in the land where Bald Eagles soar endlessly and seals accompany you on water skiing trips. The location was as magical as I imagined.

If we were sitting together at a coffee shop I’d share endless stories about our two and a half day excursion, poor Lori has had to listen to her share of my stories via cell phone. But I think my biggest take away was the realization of the difference between being invited and being welcomed. Bob and Maria welcomed us in the warmest way possible and continued to welcome us through out the entire visit. It began as simple as an embrace and a kind phrase whispered in my ear but continued through conversations, connections and surprises.

Reflecting on the trip I can simply say… I was honored by their invitation. I felt loved by their welcome. Their welcome created a sense of being enough, no need to prove anything, share any great idea or seek affirmation.

It has really caused me to examine how I show love and appreciation to others… even those I don’t know well. I issue a lot of invitations. Invitations to dinner. Invitations to church. Invitations to coffee. Invitations to retreat… but where are instances where I allow those I invite to feel welcomed warmly?

photo

Recently I purchased this sign to hang at the entrance of our little cabin in the woods. In most cases a welcome sign like this exists for guests, in this case the sign exists for me. A reminder to extend a warm welcome to those I’ve invited. In these days of social media, packed schedules, facebook likes and constant expectations… a world where we almost always feel like we’re being left out of something…  nothing beats helping someone feel like they are exactly where they’re suppose to be.